By Jill Jackson, CMP
After being involved in RFP’s, contracting and event management for over 15 years, you definitely learn many valuable tips along the way. Some cause new and exciting enhancements to your events while others cause sleepless nights, chest pains and new wrinkles!
I would like to share seven important items I believe will save the twitching eyes, lost hours of sleep and bring a sigh of relief knowing these important items have been covered.
- ALWAYS KNOW YOUR DATES, DAYS AND YEAR OF EVENT
When submitting a Request for Proposal (RFP), finalizing contracts or reviewing Banquet Event Orders (BEO’s) always confirm your dates to make sure they are correct, review your days to make sure they match your correct dates and be sure you have the correct year. Missing one or more of these important factors could cause major challenges with correct sleeping rooms blocked, meeting space reserved and event details.
- REMEMBER TO CHECK THE CALENDAR FOR HOLIDAYS
Some holidays are of more significance than others, depending on those who may celebrate or honor the occasions. For example, Mother’s Day is a national holiday, but most events will not be impacted by this date. Other important dates to be mindful of include religious holidays and those that may have closures of any type due to the holiday. Selecting dates during these dates may cause an attendance drop for your event depending on your group.
- CONFIRM YOUR CONTRACT MATCHES YOUR RFP
Many times your (RFP) will include important details that are required and other requests that may be optional. When reviewing proposals and final contracts you must take the time to make sure those required items such as your date and times, contracted room block and meeting space requirements are met. Those items that are optional can be negotiated, but must also be reviewed. Two things in meeting planning that are difficult and almost impossible to fix after the finalized contract are adding additional sleeping rooms at a sold out hotel and adding additional meeting space when all space is already reserved.
- HONESTY GOES A LONG WAY AND COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY
Always ask for what you must have and also for what you would like to have. The response may not always be no? If something is incorrect or an additional requirement or revision must be made – be honest with your hotel, vendor or whomever you are working with. Everyone appreciates honesty and it always shows true professionalism. In the end you are a team and must make it happen on both your ends for success.
- SPELL IT OUT!
This means what it says! Always confirm correct spelling of company name, contact names, contact information, name of event, location, and meeting room names. This applies to all correspondence – RFP, contract, BEO, group resume and the list goes on. Reviewing for accuracy will save endless hours of challenges in every aspect from missing mail and emails to incorrect details and information.
- CALCULATE IT
Contracted room blocks, attrition, cancellation charges, required deposits…always calculate and double-check your figures and the contracted figures for accuracy. Mistakes are easy to make and correcting on the front end before final contract negotiations and before final billing from incorrect BEO’s will save time and headaches in the long run.
- MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS IN WRITING!
In your contracted terms as well as your BEO’s be sure all details are clear and in writing! Whether you are confirming cancellation terms, meeting space assignments or reviewing final BEO’s for your onsite event management, your contract is your backup for any items negotiated or understood between you and the contractor. An easy reference to contracted terms will remain no matter if your management of an event changes, the contractor is replaced or roles change on their end. It is also important to remember that BEO’s are your last chance to make sure the final details are correct and your event is a success on your end as well as the event staffing end.
Something new is always learned each day with every new event and also with repeat events. Life happens, people change jobs, events have revisions and challenges will come up. Using these seven important steps when putting together RFP’s, contracting for events and services or signing those final BEO’s will keep you calm, cool and collected and knowing you have it all in the details.